Adults only: Air traffic control
Some children can safely handle certain adult chores. But the high-stakes tasks of air traffic controllers should be confined to well-trained grown-ups.
A controller at New York City's JFK Airport ignored that common-sense maxim -- and official regulation -- on Feb. 16 and 17 when he brought his 9-year-old twins, one each day, into not just his workplace but his work. Among the scary details in this story, which broke early last week: One of those children spoke five times to four pilots on a radio frequency designated for air traffic.
An audiotape even reveals two instances of a child saying, "Cleared for takeoff." The controller/dad adds, "Here's what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school." A pilot laughs and responds: "Wish I could bring my kid to work." The same pilot later tells the child, "Awesome job."
Awful job by an irresponsible dad/controller is more like it. The Federal Aviation Administration suspended that controller, Glenn Duffy, and an unnamed supervisor Wednesday.
Yet some air travel experts are defending him. Former United Airlines pilot Ross Aimer, after hearing the incriminating recording, told the New York Daily News: "It's almost like putting your child in your lap in an empty parking lot for the first time and letting him hold onto the wheel."
No, it's not. That dad wasn't in an empty parking lot with his child in his lap. He was in a tower with his professional assignment to fully focus on minimizing air travel risks.
And that's not kid stuff.